7 Tips to Prep For a Road Trip in 2020

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7 Tips to Prep For a Road Trip in 2020

Coping with pandemic restrictions has been difficult for many, including me and my boyfriend, Jacob. It’s really put a damper on our wandering nomad lifestyle; we can’t do many of the things we enjoy because destinations or activities are off-limits. We know the restrictions are important, but still, it’s been a learning curve.

That being said, we’re grateful for the ability to travel in a limited capacity while still quarantining. Since embarking on our nomadic lifestyle in our 2016 Minnie Winnie, we’ve loved experiencing all the places we’ve visited. The main thing we’ve learned during this pandemic is that we made the right decision. It would have been so difficult for us to work from home looking at the same four walls, but our RV lifestyle gives us a different view whenever we like.

If you’re looking to get a break from your own four walls, I highly recommend a road trip — whether it’s an extended journey or just for a weekend. Sure, you’ll have to do it a little differently now, but with some preparations and precautions, you can have fun safely. Here are some tips to do that:

Plan a relaxed trip

It’s far easier to isolate when you’re traveling by car or RV than bus, train, or plane. You’ll have the privacy of your own vehicle (either owned or rented), and you can control your situation when you’re out in public. This is probably the No. 1 reason that road trips are the best way to travel this summer or fall, while we look forward to hitting the skies when it’s safer.  

We don’t know yet how the pandemic will turn out, with so many states experiencing large spikes in infection rates. If you’re used to a hustle-and-bustle-type vacation, try flipping things by planning a trip that focuses on relaxation and isolation. After the past five months, this can feel rejuvenating in itself.

Secure your finances, insurance, and documents

After you make your plans, but before you leave, make sure your finances are covered both on the road and back at home. If you’re worried about leaving your house alone after months of putting extra wear and tear on it, give yourself some peace of mind by setting up a home warranty, which covers the cost of major home repairs. 

Check to be certain you have some disposable credit, as most places prefer hands-free electronic or credit card payments these days. Also, is your automobile insurance policy up to date? Do you have copies of your personal documents collected in one place? Cover all your bases so you’ll be prepared no matter what circumstances arise.

Consider your accommodations

Technology makes it easier to plan — and enables you to do it in a contactless manner — so now is not the time to “wing it.” Before you hit the road, plan where you’ll go and know where you’ll stay. Consider where you’ll feel most comfortable. Do you want to book a hotel, or a cabin, or maybe stay at an RV park? (It might be hard to self-isolate in a hotel). 

Book your reservations ahead of time, but before you hit the Reserve button, check to be sure you’re in close proximity to a grocery store, gas station, and any other services you might need. Also, try to book refundable rates, just in case anything changes.

If you’re renting an RV (my vote would be to go for it!), check out the RV park’s layout before you go and make sure it has all the amenities you’ll need. Remember to investigate your spot’s hookups and the ability to social distance. 

One cool thing about RVs is that you can continue to work from wherever you’re staying, as long as you have a strong internet connection. This is a great option if you’re looking for a home away from home for more than just a week’s vacation.

Yellow Van in desert landscape with rock formations

Work from anywhere and enjoy amazing views from the "office"

Build a hygiene/safety kit

It’s always a good idea on any road trip to bring along a first-aid kit with some disinfectant wipes, but in the age of the coronavirus pandemic, you’ll want to pack plenty of extras to help you stay safe and healthy. Items to include are:

Segregate these items from everything else to make sure nothing gets contaminated; collect your items in a tightly sealed plastic bin that’s easy to carry and toss in your vehicle. Also, remember to bring some small plastic bags to store your masks in. Mark them so you don’t confuse the used bags with clean ones. If you need more guidance on using personal protective equipment like masks and gloves correctly check this resource.

Disinfect your vehicle

Be sure to disinfect your vehicle before, during, and after your trip. You want to keep it as clean as you keep your house. Anytime you stop on your trip, remember to disinfect all the areas that get touched frequently, including door handles, steering wheel, window controls, radio, and anything else you tend to grab during a trip.

Enjoy your trip!

While it’s important to stay safe and healthy, don’t forget to enjoy your trip. Focus on the little things you might not have a chance to notice in everyday life, whether you’re spotting butterflies or just enjoying a sunset. And try some new things for fun. (Jacob and I had a memorable adventure when I tried learning to drive a stick shift after some friends offered me the chance.) 

While things are difficult in general right now, and it’s hard to enjoy what we’re used to, there are opportunities, too. Look for the things you might have overlooked during “normal” times. This year has been surreal, for sure. After all the stresses and hardships that have come with this virus, a road trip might be just what’s needed to unwind and forget about everything for a while. 

Guest Post by Molly Barnes, Digital Nomad Life

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